Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last Friday July 08TH 2022 I did something very rare. I drove out of the local area for a short one-day road-trip, and I returned home later that same day !
The fun started at the crack of dawn, or near the end of nautical twilight for you astronomy buffs. That was at 6 AM local time. That’s when I got on the road with no bags – no luggage – just exciting plans for my day in Naples.
I got on Krome Avenue (Florida State Road 997). Its origins date back more than 100 years. Up until just a few years ago it was a narrow 2-lane rural road that ran along the western fringes of Miami-Dade County. Starting in 2015 and continuing for the next 6 years it was modernized and widened to 4 lanes with a median. Now it’s a major thoroughfare with heavy rush hour traffic northward (towards Miami) in the morning and southward (towards Homestead) in the afternoon. On weekends it’s congested in both directions.
I picked-up U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) from Krome Avenue, and I also picked-up a yellow box truck right in front of me. This was definitely a test of patience for me, as for exactly 58 miles it never quite reached the posted speed limit. It stayed about 5 MPH below, and occasionally as much as 10 MPH below. I never passed it, but dozens of other drivers behind me didn’t have that patience. Every single one of them passed me and that truck. Even an 18-wheeler truck passed us by. As for me – my day-trip to Naples didn’t necessitate a death-defying act of passing on a narrow 2-lane rural road. I am thankful for patience – produced by the Holy Spirit within.
The truck turned left at Collier County Road 29 towards Everglades City, and I continued westward into the Naples area. Naples is quite unique in that it’s 1 of only 3 incorporated cities in Collier County. It’s the most-populated of those 3, but that’s not saying much. It’s got less than 20,000 residents; yet, the Naples metro area (essentially the entirety of Collier County) has a population of over 375,000. Naples contains the downtown area that serves much of the county, but it’s not the population center, and it’s not even the county seat.
So out of every 20 people that call the Naples area home – 19 live outside of the Naples city limits.
I’ve been visiting Naples for over 30 years. It’s about a 2½-hour drive from Homestead. Usually I visit (or drive through) Naples on the way to and from Estero or Fort Myers Beach in neighboring Lee County. There are a lot of attractions and parks and museums in and around Naples. I’ve probably visited the Naples Zoo more than any of them.
After a hearty Breakfast at Perkins (the closest one to my home at 109 miles away) – I ventured over to the Collier County Museum at Government Center. I’ve been there a handful of times, and it’s always interesting, and there’s always something new to see. It’s an interior and exterior museum with displays outside in a city park-like setting.
My next stop was a small military museum located inside the terminal building of the Naples Airport. It’s got a small footprint, but there’s a lot of memorabilia packed into it. I think that most of their visitors are waiting for a flight, or arriving from a flight, or waiting for their rental car. I don’t think that they get too many visitors who go out of their way to specifically visit the museum.
My next stop was the Naples Depot Museum – another Collier County-operated museum. It was my first visit in just a little over 10 years. It’s the former Naples train station – with lots of exhibits inside, and a train car and a caboose that you can walk through outside in the rear parking lot.
Next #TravelThursday I’ll continue my recap of my day-trip to Naples with the highlight of my day (another museum), and the finale of my day at a historic shopping and dining district along the riverfront that’s been there for over 100 years. Let’s keep traveling together.
All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp